When it comes to bungalows converting the loft is, perhaps understandably, the most popular home improvement project amongst property owners. This is particularly so when you consider that the amount of wasted space in a bungalow because of the loft can be more than 50%!
And, of course, loft conversions are so much easier and usually cheaper than building a new ground floor extension or digging out a new basement.
In fact, if you live in a bungalow that was built prior to the mid-1950s then you probably have the best property possible for a loft conversion.
Bungalows built before the 1950s were usually built with massive loft spaces and all this wasted space can easily be utilised to hugely increase the amount of living space in the property. Of course, that isn’t to say new bungalows can be converted. As we see they definitely can be.
Most popular bungalow loft conversion ideas
Sewing or craft / hobby room.
Mancave or sheshed
Work from home office.
Assuming there are no mobility issues, when homeowners convert the loft their most popular choice for the new roof space is a bedroom or two, and often they will make it an en-suite.
Of course, it doesn’t have to have an en-suite bathroom but if you take the trouble to convert the loft into a new bedroom why leave yourself the chore of having to go up and down the stairs when you need the loo in the middle of the night?
New bedrooms are so popular because it allows the homeowner to convert the original ground floor bedrooms into new living rooms.
A common scheme amongst bungalow owners who opt for a loft conversion is to transfer the sleeping accommodation to the loft and use the vacated ground floor rooms as a kitchen extension by knocking down the original walls or adding more space for a dining room.
Sewing or craft / hobby room
A really popular option and not a surprising one. Without making assumptions on why you’re reading this page it’s fair to say that many bungalow owners are either retired or getting fairly close to retirement.
One of the great things about not having to clock on during the week is that you have more time for yourself and your hobbies. And who wouldn’t want their own specially built hobby room?
Whether you enjoy sewing, candle making, model making, model railways, or quilting a purpose-built room in which you can enjoy your hobby has to be high on your wish list.
The best thing about converting the loft in your bungalow into a hobby room is that you will be able to enjoy your pastime without taking over valuable space in the rest of the house and can escape the day-to-day routine by climbing the stairs and locking yourself away in your own room. Bliss!
If you enjoy art and are a painter, potter, jewellery maker you’ll want a home studio with lots of natural light. And there’s no better place than the loft.
You’ll have plenty of space to practise your craft and by installing a bank of large Velux windows or rooflights you will benefit from floods of natural light making its way into your studio.
A studio in the loft can be the perfect environment in which to enjoy your art or craft.
Mancave or sheshed
Before I converted my loft, I was forever being told that my valued collections were taking over the house. Which was absolutely true of course but since ‘moving upstairs’ there have been no more complaints and I can potter around to my heart’s content.
Converting the loft in your bungalow to a mancave (or shecave) is a great use of space and your partner will be delighted to get you out from under their feet. And yes, I am speaking from personal experience.
Work from home office
With more of us working from home either in our full-time jobs or in a side hustle, the need for a den or home office is becoming more prevalent.
The loft is a great place for an office as at the end of the working day you can close the door, and go ‘home’ shutting your work away until tomorrow. The commutes are not bad either.
Make sure when planning your loft conversion that you include plenty of power points. You don’t want to rely on extension cords. Any home office will need connections for computers, printers, scanners, routers, and a whole host of other things so make sure you have plenty of main power sockets in your plan.
Issues with a bungalow loft conversion
Converting a bungalow is quite possible with the only real hurdle to overcome being the fact that you are looking to add a second floor to a building which was specifically designed to have only one.
That said, some bungalows are absolutely ideal for conversion – though all will require some preparatory work.
Disadvantages of bungalow loft conversions
As we’ve said above, the biggest problem is in adding a second floor when there was never meant to be one.
And, with no second floor to originally support many, if not most, bungalows were built without internal load-bearing walls. This of course presents a problem.
But not an insurmountable one.
It is probable that the internal walls, and possibly the external ones too, will need to be underpinned in order to support the addition of the new second floor.
Of course, a professional structural engineer will need to be consulted throughout this process and will need to work out the structural calculations but underpinning the internal walls isn’t quite as big a job as it sounds.
Happily, some bungalow’s will not require this added work but you must find out as early as possible if your bungalow will need underpinning.
And, if underpinning is necessary, it is as well to know that, unlike the actual loft conversion work, underpinning internal walls is a very intense and invasive process.
The household will be severely disrupted and it may be wise to consider alternative accommodation whilst the work is being done.
Benefits of converting the loft in your bungalow
Hopefully the above hasn’t put you off the idea of adding a second floor to your home.
Rest assured there are some advantages in converting a bungalow over an existing two-story building.
Some bungalows, most notably older pre-war properties, are ideal for a loft conversion because of their steeply pitched roof.
This ensures the new room will have plenty of headroom and will make the actual building work very easy.
One advantage all bungalow conversions have in common is that the building regulations are not as rigid.
For example, unlike when converting a two-story property into a three story, there is no need to install fire doors or enclosed loft stairs in a bungalow conversion.
This will greatly reduce the cost of the project making a bungalow loft conversion one of the most profitable home improvement projects in terms of adding value to your home.
Bungalow loft conversion stairs
The biggest decision in any loft conversion project is the location of the stairs.
Obviously, the property was not designed to have a staircase so finding a place to put one can be a pain.
The hallway behind the front door is one solution but that would probably rule out being able to use the door for access. Not ideal!
The location of the stairs will very much depend on the internal layout of the property but it is safe to say that in order to have the additional floor some of the first-floor room space will have to be sacrificed.
The question for you and your architect is how to include a flight of stairs with only losing a minimum of floor space.
As with any type of loft conversion the building regulations are very strict when it comes to fire safety and what can be allowed when converting the loft. Changes to the building regulations specify that a fire protected stairway must be installed.
However, bungalows are slightly different to two story houses in that if it is impossible to install a protected stairway then the bungalow owner can fit escape windows to the new loft room and still gain building regulations approval.